Teams with two strong rushing attacks lined up to settle the Region 5-5A playoff picture Friday night at Harry Parone Stadium. In the end, Spring Valley will play host to a first-round playoff opponent in two weeks.
Irmo will collect the jerseys after falling to the Vikings 24-17.
Spring Valley (7-3, 4-2) broke a 17-17 tie on Tate I’auolauo’s 28-yard touchdown with a minute left in the game, after the Yellow Jackets’ 25-yard field goal attempt missed wide left.
Irmo (3-7, 2-4) needed three plays and more than a minute to go 80 yards and take a 7-0 lead. On the second play from scrimmage, Jeffery Tharp broke out on a 59-yard run that set up Shakem Bradley’s 16-yard touchdown run.
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Spring Valley evened the score at 7 after Jacobie Elkins picked off a Lassiter pass in the end zone. From there the Vikings knocked out a 7-play, 80-yard drive capped with a 52-yard Jaylon Morris TD scamper with 5:06 left in the second quarter.
James Dooley broke the tie with a 27-yard field goal to put the Yellow Jackets up 10-7 with 3 seconds left in the first half.
After Dooley’s field goal put Irmo in the lead, Spring Valley’s Marcus Simpson took the opening kickoff of the second half 68 yards to the Irmo 27-yard line. I’auolauo rushed 27-yards for the go-ahead score at the 11:37 mark of the third.
Bruce Williams’ 22-yard field goal with 4:38 in the third gave the Vikings a 17-10 lead, but Irmo quarterback Mason Lassiter found Raekwon Heath from eight yards out to tie the game with 9:41 left in the game.
Dooley missed a 25-yard field goal attempt at the 3:02 mark. With the score tied at 17, Spring Valley took over at its own 20-yard line and marched the length of the field in two minutes. Tate I’auolauo broke through the middle for a 28-yard touchdown run.
Tate I’auolauo: The Spring Valley running back had 86 yards and two scores on just six carries in the second half, including the game-winning touchdown. He finished with 112 yards on 15 attempts.
Jeffery Tharp: The Irmo running back was the workhorse for the Yellow Jackets, rushing for 195 yards on 15 carries.
616: Total rushing yards by both teams, 318 yards from Irmo, 298 from Spring Valley.
16: Total passing yards by both teams, eight yards apiece.
THEY SAID IT
“We’re gonna make every game exciting. I don’t know what it is, but I’m going to make every game exciting. Our defense really bowed their back. Coach (Mike) Harrell, Coach (Mitch) Moton, Coach (Dave) Thomas did a great job of shutting town a bigger team. Offensively we didn’t panic, we were able to move the ball there at the end, which is what good teams do.” – Spring Valley coach Robin Bacon
“A team like Spring Valley, you really gotta put seven on the board. They made one more play than we did down the stretch to win the football game.” – Irmo coach Reggie Kennedy
HOW THEY SCORED
I – Shakem Bradley 16 run (James Dooley kick) 10:51
S – Jaylon Morris 52 run (Jake Hamilton kick) 5:06
I – Dooley 27 field goal :03
S – Tate I’auolauo 27 run (Hamilton kick) 11:37
S – Bruce Williams 22 field goal 4:38
I – Raekwon Heath 8 pass from Mason Lassiter (Dooley kick) 9:41
S – I’auolauo 28 run (Hamilton kick) 1:00
Rushing: Irmo – Jeffery Tharp 15-195, Shakem Bradley 16-82 Mason Lassiter 8-18, Ricky Elam 5-23. Spring Valley – Tate I’auolau 15-112, Quincy Hill 12-77, KeAndre Jones 5-30, Jaylon Morris 8-69, Shaun Moore 2-10.
Passing: Irmo – Mason Lassiter 10-1-1. Spring Valley – Quincy Hill 4-1-0.
Receiving: Irmo – Raekwon Heath 1-8. Spring Valley – Kiyon Nelson 1-8.